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Cleaning the Bathroom Sucks…and Other To Do List Problems

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There are just some tasks that really suck, don’t you think? Like cleaning the bathroom. It just gets dirty the instant you walk out the door. A-L-L…T-H-E…T-I-M-E!! You just look at the bathroom the wrong way and it’s dirty again! Having kids getting older was supposed to make it easier! The mess is just bigger, that’s all.

As you sit down with your gargantuan Saturday “to-do list” and a cup of coffee, decide which tasks will best serve your highest purpose. What will make you FEEL good (or at least better).

 

Is there stuff on there that you can just say, you know, I really don’t care that the book shelf gets dusted today, it doesn’t actually bother me that they’re a little dusty. I’d rather read one of them for a little while out on my sunny deck! Would that be more in line with how YOU want to feel today?

Are you cleaning things because “you’re supposed to” according to some “rules” someone created? Are you cleaning things just for the sake of cleaning them? Do you actually read or even want the books on the shelves? If not, wouldn’t your time be better spent gathering them up, donating or selling them and leaving that space for something else that you love (and doesn’t need dusted as much)? Gasp! What if you even were able to get rid of the whole shelf entirely? Then you wouldn’t have to dust it ever again! Hmmmm…..Less stuff to dust; less dusting! How would that make you feel?

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What about that bathroom?…it has to be cleaned for sanitary reasons. I get that. But, if cleaning the bathroom causes you stress, can it be delegated? Perhaps we need to let someone help us…perhaps we can let go of the need to be the only one who does everything around the house (I’ve never said that…yeah right, Miss Martyr…being a martyr feels so great….NOT!)

Maybe it can be less perfectly cleaned by someone else, and you can feel better about asking for help and allowing that you don’t have to do everything. (What!!??! I don’t have to do everything myself? Oh, but the taps won’t be perfectly sparkling! Have you ever taken the time to show someone else how to do it? Ummmm no, I haven’t, because that’s too hard…uh huh…so….it’s easier to freak out about having to clean the bathroom myself all the time? Hmmmmm….maybe not…)

If it can’t be delegated for whatever reason, then what about a different approach in how we FEEL about cleaning it. Can we change our attitude?

Yep, my attitude is in MY control. I can spend the morning being pissed off that I have to clean the bathroom again or I can approach it differently. I love how the mirror looks when there are no tooth brush crime-scenes splatted all over it. I can stop and admire that hot momma in the clean mirror when it’s done.

 

I can pull out the “good towels” and enjoy a clean, luxurious bath in the clean bathtub later when it’s all done. Clean the tub for ME! I love the smell of a clean bathroom. It just makes me feel good. How about I focus on that instead?

Or what if I got rid of all these almost empty bottles sitting on the counter/ledge so that it’s way easier to quickly clean these areas. I can control what’s in my bathroom. If there are a ton of knick knacks that always get dirty, why am I keeping them there? Do I even like them? If not, let’s simplify this whole bathroom cleaning job! That makes me feel waaaayyy better about cleaning the bathroom.

These are the ramblings of a to-do-list-aholic. Over the years, I’ve re-evaluated the whole idea of them and how I approach my list. I do still get a little Martyr-Crazy and scream and yell, but not as often. This is a process, not perfection. Join me today as you look at that list. Try just re-thinking ONE thing on the list:

  1. Re-evaluate – does it really need to get done NOW?
  2. Delegate – do you HAVE to be the one to do this?
  3. Re-frame – can you change how you approach this task?

Please let me know how this goes for you. Your To-Do list doesn’t have to make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. It can make you feel good. Feeling good is what life is all about in my opinion. #DesireMap

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books to let go

Ditch the Clutter 10 Day Challenge

books to let goKrystal and I have some more stuff to let go of (there’s always something, isn’t there?), so we thought we’d make up a 10 day Ditch the Clutter Challenge for all of us to kick start the process.

For each of the 10 days we have a list of ideas for what to let go of. Day 1 will have one thing, Day 2 – two things, Day 3 – three things and all the way up to 10 things on the 10th day. To make this more fun and supportive, we’ll be posting what we’re letting go of on our Facebook Page (and Twitter for those of you who follow us there).

You can post your photos there too and/or comment and let everyone know what you’re able to let go of. Often we just need that little push of accountability to get something done. Let’s do this together!  Follow the posts on our Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/simplelifecelebrations Share this with your friends so that they can join in the Ditch the Clutter Challenge too.

Ditch the Clutter Challenge

                                          Choice One                           OR                     Choice Two

DayOne Piece of furniture that you’re not using Board Game or other Game
DayTwo  2 items from coffee table or side table  2 cleaning supplies/tools you’re not using
Day Three  3 travel items (incl. bags, backpacks)  3 pillows or cushions that you don’t need
Day Four  4 items from under the sink  4 items from the TV stand
DayFive  5 old or outdated things from the fridge  5 knick knacks or decorative items
DaySix  6 pairs of shoes/boots/footwear  6 items from the bedside table
Day Seven  7 things from your workout stuff  7 things from the junk drawer
Day Eight  8 kitchen items that aren’t being used  8 school supplies/papers that aren’t needed
Day Nine  9 shower/bath items that are just taking up space  9 things from the creative corner/crafting supplies
DayTen  10 pieces of clothing (kids, adult, seasonal)  10 bookshelf items (books, magazines, clipped articles etc)

 

These are ideas to get you started. If you have other areas/things you’d like to let go of…GO FOR IT! Also, you can let go of more things each day too! Share your photos/lists on the Facebook page (or comment on this post and tell us what you’re able to get done!)
Don’t forget to get these things out of your home as soon as possible. Garbage to garbage, recycling to recycling, donations donated. Do not let them taking up any more of the precious space in your heart and home! For our local peeps, Krystal gathered together a list of where you can take your stuff. Download it here: Local Places to Donate

I also created a Decluttering Divas Play Sheet (kinda like a “game card”) that you can use to track your progress each day. Download it here: Decluttering Divas Play Sheet

UPDATE: PHOTOS FROM THE CHALLENGE SO FAR

If you have questions or ideas about the Ditch the Clutter Challenge, please email us or post it on Facebook. We are here to help!

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You can use this for towels or for the coats as I mention in this post

Christmas Front Door Clutter

I’d like to thank Kathleen Windsor of Windsor Graphics for this question:

How about a front entry tip for Christmas? Expecting about 50 shoes & boots at my front door & snowsuits from 6 kidlets. Help!

This is a fantastic question and one that I think most of us can relate to!

For the boots:

  • Use a low long plastic container(s); remove the lid. When everyone is in the door, these can be moved to other locations to dry so that they are out of the way. The containers can easily be wiped out later.
  • My parents have a small back entry and we always have big tobogganing parties (and thus the same issue!) Everyone takes off their boots at the back door and then carries them down to the laundry room where there is more space and a floor that can easily be cleaned up.
For the coats:
  • a coat “tree” (the kind with the arms) for temporarily hanging snow pants & jackets. Again, this can easily be moved to a different location so that the clutter isn’t at the back door. There’s no messing with hangers and snow pants (which NEVER seems to stay on the hanger!) There’s one at Jysk http://www.jysk.ca/hugo-coat-rack-3.html … – I use mine in the bathroom as well for towels. 🙂
You can use this for towels or for the coats as I mention in this post
  • My parents have a heated garage (which is also very clean & organized!). We all take off our coats and snow pants out there and hang them on Dad’s wood working equipment, benches, etc. so that all that stuff isn’t in the house. The mitts & toques stay out there too.
  • For all the coats of the “non-wet” 🙂 type…I remember when we grew up that we always put the visitors’ coats on my mom & dad’s bed. I still do this from time to time if there are a lot of people visiting me. Of course, it means that your master bedroom will be “seen” by many people… 🙂 That may be an overwhelming thought for some. If that’s the case, use another room for this purpose!

For the toques and mittens:

  • If these are just damp and cold, use a mesh bag and collect them all – hang the bag in the laundry room. Depending on the kinds of mitts & toques they are (and the degree of cleanliness…) you may be able to toss the whole bag in the dryer and let them dry while everyone is visiting. Then they’re nice and warm for when everyone goes home!
throw toques & mitts in and hang the bag
  • Use another big container to toss all these in and remove them from the back door area. They won’t dry very well in there, so keep that in mind. At least this will get them out of the back door area and allow for easy pickup at the end of the visit.

What are some of your suggestions for the back door clutter that occurs during the holiday season? How do you deal with it? Let us know in the comments!

For more great tips on keeping those seasonal clothes under control, read Krystal’s Seasonal Confusion! If you’d like some help getting your home ready for the holidays, contact us for a virtual session! You can send us photos of your space and we can give you step by step instructions for what to do. Alternatively, we can possibly book a mini-session and spend an hour with the two of us tackling that trouble-spot!

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Empower Them

I am learning that nagging the kids to clean up really doesn’t work. When I ask them to “clean up your room”, I am ignored or forced to listen to the whining. Let’s face it, if someone gave you a vague task like “Get a new client” or “Write a new program” and we had no experience in doing so, we would not know where to start. A mentor or supervisor or instructor has given us the specific steps we need to take to accomplish this task. At the very least, we’ve had life experiences which help us to figure out a way to get started.

It’s the same way with the kids. We need to empower them with the tools they need to accomplish the task.

For example, this weekend, instead of saying “clean up your room”; I gave them specifics. For my son:

  • clean up the lego on the floor
  • put the magnets away
  • put the toy guns, soldier items away
  • tidy the top of the foot locker

He knew where these things go and what my expectations were. So, he set about doing these specific items. He did it at his own pace; even spent time playing with some of these as he was putting them away. It didn’t matter, there was no “agenda” and I’d rather he do it at his own speed rather than mine. I did not hover and he completed the tasks as I asked.

For my daughter:

  • hang up her clean laundry
  • tidy the top of her dresser
  • put away her magazines & books
  • pick stuff up off the floor

Again, she had a specific list. The lists weren’t long and I believe that they felt like these wouldn’t take all that long so there was no whining. I simply asked them to do these items before they continued with the rest of their day. My daughter is suddenly becoming much more mature and capable as a young woman (she’s 13 in a couple weeks!). She went above and beyond in her room!

When you empower the kids to do things on their own and in their own way, they feel the reward of a job well done. As she tidied the areas in her room, she cleaned and reorganized as well. I did not ask her to do this. She has just seen the value of being able to find things now in our home (most days! 🙂 ), so she wanted the same in her space. Her grandma is a big influence on her and has shown her how to clean as well as I like to explain what we’re doing for organizing jobs as well. This was the incredible result of all her hard work:

There are still going to be days when they whine and I yell. We’re getting there. There are days when it’s really difficult to let them do it their way rather than mine. It keeps getting better and better though. The more I empower them to do things on their own; the more they are up to the challenge.

Do you give your kids specific tasks for their jobs around the house? Do you have tricks to share? Let us know in the comments!

Computer Tip: Show Desktop

There is no “Quick Launch Bar” in Windows 7. One of the side effects of this is that there is no “Show Desktop” icon. Previously, this icon allowed you to minimize all the windows at once.

This function is still available; it’s just in a different spot:

  • Click the Show Desktop bar (the far right of the taskbar, beside date and time)

This bar also has a feature called “Desktop Preview” that makes all opened windows transparent so that you can see the desktop. Move the mouse over the bar without clicking it for this to work.

This is great for many of you who have a lot of icons on the desktop and don’t want to minimize one window at a time to get to them. From an organizing perspective, I don’t like to have a lot of icons on the desktop – it’s too cluttered for my taste! Instead, I have my my most important programs pinned to the taskbar. Alternatively, I use the powerful Windows 7 searching and just type in what I want to open (I’m a fast keyboarding person).

I would love to hear if you are a “Everything-On-The-Desktop” person or a “Clear-Desktop” person…and why you do that. Let us know in the comments!

We offer computer organizing sessions as well. We can come to your desk personally (if you’re within our trading area) or virtually and help you get control of all those computer files and icons! Contact us to arrange a consult!

As many of you know, I have been an IT (Information Technology) person for more than 20 years. I recently left that life behind. However, I am still a geek and always will be. I plan to share my various tips and tricks for learning how to use technology to be more efficient and productive.

This is a post that I originally wrote a while ago, somewhere else 😉

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My regular google email

Summer Email Smash

Email is overwhelming at times, isn’t it? And yet we all have it and use it regularly. How can we manage it? Well, this is one of my specialties and I’ll share a few little tips in today’s post.

My regular google email

I don’t like to have a lot of emails in my Inbox; I find it overwhelming because it feels like the emails are stuff that I have to do. I keep all my email inboxes as empty as possible. (I currently have 5 email accounts, 1 I don’t really use and ignore most of the time).

Summer is a great time to start “fresh” for smashing and clearing out those inboxes. At this point, looking back doesn’t matter. We’re setting up a system for moving forward. Here’s some tips to get you started:

First of all…you’re going to be ruthless as you go through email – if you “might need it” – file all of those in 1 folder. You don’t need to separate them out at this point. The search capabilities are stellar. It will find the email you need for you. Just put them all into that ONE FOLDER (call it something like: Maybe June 2012). Put the date on so that you can decide to get rid of it if you haven’t touched it for a year! (Like the boxes in your house).


Once you’ve cleared that out of your inbox (yes, all into one folder if you need to)…THEN set up a schedule and a FEW folders to deal with the day to day. Try to handle them in batches. You need to focus on other work, then focus on emails. Only deal with emails a few times a day; and only deal with emails during that time. Answer the email, create a task or two if you need to and then delete or file right away. It’s the best way to get a lot done in a small amount of time: ONE thing at a time. Focus!

My Yahoo email – used for some personal online stuff
Another thing – don’t worry about the “Read Later” pile. Be realistic. You are NOT going to read them later. You are going to search for the stuff you need on the Internet when you DO have time to do the work/research. Don’t save those emails that you think you’re going to read later. Let them go…it’s hard to do, but you can do it, trust me! 🙂

That’s a very brief how to and it’s how I do it. It’s the method I use to help our clients deal with the overwhelm. I have a few rules & filters set up to handle some of them automatically, but not a lot. At this point, that’s not what you need. You need to think of this stuff as pieces of paper….would you keep all those papers? Likely not.

Sit down for 1 hour this summer (that’s it) and do nothing but delete and file into the ONE folder. On your mark, get set, GO! Blast that email and get control again! 🙂

My SLC business email

 

We offer email cleanup services – we can come to your office (depending on your location) or work with you online to help you get control of your email. Contact us to schedule an appointment.